On the other hand, he basically sticked to his 1950s repertoire and style. Together with Domenico Modugno, he holds the record for the most wins at the Sanremo Music Festival, where he won the competition in 1955 (Buongiorno tristezza), 1957 (Corde della mia chitarra), 1962 (Addio ... addio) and 1967 (Non pensare a me). He won the RAI-TV Canzonissima competition in 1964 with " ‘O sole mio", and in 1966 with "Granada". His debut was as a follower of the folk singer Carlo Buti (Florence 1902-1963, “the Golden Voice of Italy”); in 1947 he records his first 78 giri record (a rarity now) and in 1952 he is the main actor in the movie “Serenata amara” dir. by Pino Mercanti - followed by about 30 movies, where he is often singing as well; he most loved the Mario Valli character, an artist in “Granada Addio” (1966) dir.
by Marino Girolami. In the 1950s, together with his archi-rival Luciano Tajoli, he interpreted even many songs that will almost disappear afterward: "Il Ponte", "La luna nel rio" (Who threw the moon in the river, who threw it ...) and "Fontane Romane". Among Claudio Villa’s classics, one shoud also mention: 1948 Scalinatella, 1949 Fontana di Trevi and Signorinella, 1950 Luna Rossa, the 1951 Neapolitan suite (Voce 'e notte - Core 'ngrato - 'Na sera 'e maggio - Anema e core - Malafemmena - Munasterio 'e Santa Chiara - Marechiaro), 1951 I’ te vurria vasà, 1952 Vola colomba and Vecchio scarpone, 1955 Arrivederci Roma, 1956 Guaglione, 1957 Corde della mia chitarra, Lazzarella, La vie en rose, and Ave Maria di Schubert, 1958 Nel blu dipinto di blu (Modugno’s Volare), 1960 Romantica and Marina, 1969 Strangers in the night, 1974 Michelle and La Paloma, 1980 Dove sta Zazà and Tamurriata nera, 1982 El Condor pasa, 1985 Nessun dorma, and Caro amore (Concerto per Aranjuez). In 1973 he interprets unforgettably on TV some “stornelli a dispetto” in duet with the great folksinger Gabriella Ferri, his great admirer and friend. After different labels, he ended up recording with Cetra (later on becoming Fonit-Cetra). His death in 1987 by heart attack was announced live on Italian television by Pippo Baudo, during the last night of the Sanremo Music Festival of 1987. He recorded across 4 decades over 3000 songs, and sold over 45 million records. Read more on Last.fm.
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